Win 7 ignore FAT drives?


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Greetings All...

I'm trying to install Win 7 Pro into my main disk, which is partitioned into a Primary and an Extended partition, as follows:

  • Primary partition - one small FAT16 (sic!) partition, 1.5GB (usually C:)
  • Extended partition - various NTFS logical drives (usually D: onwards)
(This is just the way I've always done it in XP... then I can format compact flash cards to FAT16 for my camera and it's historically been useful having the small C: for a subsequent LInux multi-boot install.)

My problem is that Win7 ignores the FAT C: drive and installs Win7 into the first logical drive, which becomes C:. My small FAT partition does not have a drive letter assigned, it is simply ignored. Fairly early on in the install process, Win 7 informs me it is making changes to the registry - I'm assuming this is to remap the drives and remove the C: map.

I can subsequently assign a drive letter, although not C: (of course).
This is rather annoying... can anyone help? Is it possible to force Win7 to install to the D: drive, leaving my small C: intact?

Thank you...
 
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Kougar

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I suppose you could try and change the default letter assignment for the Windows partition, and once it's been changed try and make the FAT partition the C drive but I'm not sure it will allow it.

Why do you keep a 1.5GB FAT16 partition, out of curiosity? FAT32 would be better for compatibility.
 

Thrax

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FAT16 is ancient technology. It really, really needs to be brought to FAT32. There's no support for FAT16 afaik.
 
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No support for FAT16? you mean I won't be able to do my multi-boot machine going back to Windows 3.1?!?

It will not let me change the letter for the Windows partition Kougar - not surprising really! There were two reasons for keeping the FAT16 partition, apart from my mega-multi-boot I mentioned earlier:

  • It acts as a boot partition for a later install of Linux - saves fiddling about with the main Windows partition.
  • I have a Minolta 7Hi camera. 28-200mm lens. Very good camera with a good lens and is about 5 years old. Trouble is, the CF cards must be formatted FAT16. It was always convenient having that available in XP (as long as I had that little boot partition on C:.)
I will clearly have to play a lot more to find out what I can and cannot achieve. Thanks for your help.
 

Kougar

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Ah, sorry I missed a few of your points. I'll need to read a bit slower...

FAT16 dates back to 1987 and MS-DOS 3, long before even Windows 3.1. :D

A Linux bootloader will work fine with FAT32, although converting your boot manager into a FAT32 setup might be rather messy, I'm not sure as I'm not a Linux guru. My experience goes as far as setting up a boot manager initially and that's it, not remaking a pre-existing one.

As far as your Minolta camera, I am amazed but apparently it was one of their last models before they integrated FAT32 support! Still, you do not need a FAT16 partition to transfer files, just use XP to transfer the files over to your NTFS hard drive by dragging and dropping them. Windows 7 should still see the CF card in the camera and allow you to transfer the files around as well.
 
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A Linux bootloader will work fine with FAT32...
That's true Kougar - guess I'm old fashioned that's all. It's a bit like the reason why I alsways like to keep my hand in with the vi text editor... when all else fails there is always that one!

As for the Minolta support, it wasn't the transferring of files that interested me, it was the reformatting of the CF cards - I found that keeping that little boot disk kept the ability to reformat things like CF cards to FAT16. If I installed XP without that FAT16 disk, I could no longer format FAT16.
Yes, I was a bit pissed after I realised that my 7Hi didn't have FAT32 support - it was probably the only thing I didn't check before buying it! (Oh, and the fact that Minolta stopped doing cameras a few years later, about six months after I splashed out 300 quid for one of their fancy flashguns - another reason for not changing the camera!)

As for Windows 7, I've had an 'entertaining' time... accidentally deleted a 300GB partition full of data and spent days getting it back - all my trusty utils like Partition Manager 8.05 do not seem to work with Win 7 disks. I've noticed that Win 7 (or probably Vista to, although I never installed that) have finally left the old days behind - completely different disk allocations by default etc etc - lots of reading to be done now to catch up.
However, I've noticed that if I put in a FAT16 disk, I can reformat it to FAT16, so I'm happy wrt the camera. As for the boot disk, I removed it. Time to come up to date!
 
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clifford_cooley

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Hi silverj

Have you tried out EasyBCD to see if you can configure your "multi-boot machine". If you configure Windows 7 bootloader to boot to an older OS. You should be about to get your original boot menu to work.
 

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